Israel: Researchers develop promising therapy for ALS, diabetes

i24NEWS

3 min read
An elderly woman gets her blood tested during a drive to provide medical check-ups for diabetes at an integrated services post in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, on December 15, 2021.
CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN / AFPAn elderly woman gets her blood tested during a drive to provide medical check-ups for diabetes at an integrated services post in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, on December 15, 2021.

'We plan to… make ALS not a devastating, lethal disease... We are trying to mimic God'

Israeli researchers recently developed a cellular therapy for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) that was successful in its first human clinical trial, providing a glimmer of hope for patients suffering from the disease.

Kadimastem, a biotech company in Ness Ziona of central Israel, treated 10 ALS patients in the trial, stopping their condition for three months.

“We store… millions of stem cells… for the treatment of ALS and diabetes. We can use these cells to treat any patient in the world,” Michal Izrael, vice president of Research and Development at Kadimastem, told i24NEWS.

The therapy is based on brain-supporting stem cells to replace non-functional cells to combat the progressive nervous system disease that leads to paralysis and death, and for which there is currently no cure.

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“In our next clinical trial, we plan to… make ALS not a devastating, lethal disease, but a chronic disease where we can maintain the function and survival of patients,” Izrael said.

“We are trying to mimic God. We are manufacturing the same [stem cells] that you and I have, and we replace the functionality… to support the neurons in the brain and spinal cord.”

Also under development by Kadimastem researchers is a self-therapy to cure diabetes. 

“Imagine a world where you don't need to prick your fingers or inject insulin,” Izrael explained to i24NEWS.

“You will have a small device inserted under your skin… and it can sense the glucose levels and secrete the needed amount of insulin. It’s a cure for diabetes.”

While Kadimastem’s model was successfully tested on mice, who were cured of diabetes for good, the technology won’t be available to humans for another five to seven years.

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